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Daniel Rourke (M, 35)
London, UK
Immortal since Dec 18, 2007
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All things would be visibly connected if one could discover at a single glance and in its totality the tracings of an Ariadne’s thread leading thought into its own labyrinth.
- Georges Bataille
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    The Components of Thought Have Exploded
    Project: The Total Library


    Project Proposal:

    There are hundreds of thousands of books published every year. Many are bound to be forgotten, but some are capable of altering the very patterns of human thought.

    I propose that Space Collective members gather together their knowledge of the literary universe and compile the definitive list of books that explode the components of thought.

    Fiction and non-fiction titles can be included, but clichés are discouraged (i.e. Ray Kurzweil, Stephen Hawking, etc.)

    The list is intended to uncover original, thought provoking books which bring something new to the realms of human wisdom and understanding.

    Books that redefine reality.

    UPDATE: The Total Library Project is now open!!

    19 comments
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    Comments:


    sjef     Wed, Jan 9, 2008  Permanent link
    The list is a good idea, but I don't know about the exclusion of 'cliches', as they are relative to ones prior knowledge. What may seem cliche to you or I could contain a complete new wealth of education to another and there's no way to tell where to draw the line.
    It would be unwise to discount certain works simply because they are well known.
    I mean, if Kurzweil and Hawking are out, then should Einstein, Darwin, Pinker, Clarke, Asimov etc all be discounted as well?
    Rourke     Thu, Jan 10, 2008  Permanent link
    sjef: I see your point. It would be nice to concentrate on less obvious titles, but of course the list would be incomplete without the names you mention. If it were possible for members of Space Collective to vote on the books they think are crucial to the library then the list would eventually categorise itself. If book overviews/reviews/criticisms are written through the Collective post system and then added to the Library Project then promotions from the community would have this effect on the list.

    I look forward immensely to the final opening of the project system. Please do favourite or promote this post if you would like to take part in compiling the proposed library of thought exploding titles.
    sjef     Thu, Jan 10, 2008  Permanent link
    Yeah a library project would work quite well in the current system with 1 post per book using promotions & synapses to create some order. I'd be keen to contribute for sure.

    It should also be encouraged that the overviews/reviews/criticisms are original material written by the poster, as that would prevent blind list posting, and an opinion with some context adds more value by providing a better starting point for discussion than just re-hashed stuff from elsewhere.
    Rourke     Fri, Jan 11, 2008  Permanent link
    Absolutely. The library would be for original reviews, overviews and / or criticisms. I suppose once a book has been reviewed then the comments section would act as a good place for criticisms or links to similar books etc.

    It would be great if categories could be used to classify books into appropriate tag headers. Then searching through the library would be made much, much easier. Also, using categories a distinction could be made between 'classics' (such as Einstein and Pinker) and 'unknowns' (i.e. books that people feel should be much better known).
    Michael Garrett     Fri, Jan 11, 2008  Permanent link
    A book is more than a verbal structure or series of verbal structures; it is the dialogue it establishes with its reader and the intonation it imposes upon his voice and the changing and durable images it leaves in his memory. A book is not an isolated being: it is a relationship, an axis of innumerable relationships.

    —-Jorge Luis Borges—-
    b10     Fri, Jan 11, 2008  Permanent link
    talk about a database nightmare ;) That aside I think this is a worthwhile project, and such a list of books I think would help to further define the general ideas that excite people on this site.
    Rourke     Sun, Jan 13, 2008  Permanent link
    I like the idea suggested in the Borges quote. A veritable labyrinth of inter-connected book reviews would mirror the mental map that Space Collective has so far tried to convey.
    meika     Sun, Jan 13, 2008  Permanent link
    I've thought about a similar thing in recent days!


    But let's not do it here. Except in discussion...

    So I suggest we agree on creating a tag at librarything, (it's a site designed for exactly this type of thing) and we can do it over there. Tag suggestion spacecadetcanon??

    Quite a few titles in my list are on it for exactly the reasons in this post. We are creating a new wikified canon.
    Rourke     Mon, Jan 14, 2008  Permanent link
    I like the simplicity of librarything, but it disallows reviews and or reasons for additions to a Collective library. Any list of books added as part of a Project would have its foundations in reviews and overviews rather than simply being just a list.

    If there was any way we could easily combine the two systems that would be more than perfect...
    meika     Mon, Jan 14, 2008  Permanent link
    Good points.

    In their groups section they have a BB/forum-like discussions, and others are thinking along the same lines.

    Apparently the difficulty lies in using the biggest open book database amazon.com which disallows APIs, discussion here:—

    We are certainly planning on releasing a full-featured API that is just what you are describing, and I'm pumped about it. We just have to find the time to do it. :)


    Also they have an API page.

    We can link to books on librarything link this:

    http://www.librarything.com/title/voyage_of_the_dawn_treader
    or
    http://www.librarything.com/isbn/1862545529

    eg
    Unearthed: The Aboriginal Tasmanians of Kangaroo Island by Rebe Taylor. Wakefield Press (2004), Paperback, 390 pages

    Tags are done like this:
    http://www.librarything.com/catalog.php?tag=Singularity%20Fiction

    (Feel free to add more books to that tag!)

    No way of limiting a tag's use to a particular group, nor to admin a group to a particular set of users.

    So for minor hackers and tweakers we could generate librarything links in our posts easily enough.

    A library project on spacecollective could oversee a usage of librarything data though. In my post I used amazon.com links but I will be using librarything's social context from now on. It's still early days for librarything.

    The plus side for librarything is that real libraries are using it, including my local State library here in Tasmania. Not just amazon data (tend to be best for post dotcom boom titles really).

    But for it to work generally we'd need some support from spacecollective webmaster designers.

    While I dont like cluttering interfaces, for a particular library/canon retro-media project, tools could be included in the entry options bar, such that for a library/canon project an additonal link button dedicated (for example) to librarything would be nice. The button would create a link for a post and add book to a list on spacecollective, preferably with a tag, including suggester's name tag.

    thoughts anyone?
    Rourke     Fri, Jan 18, 2008  Permanent link
    I think the next stage is waiting to see how the project spaces work. I am sure we can wrangle some support from the collective webmasters.

    Bring on the books!
    Robokku     Fri, Jan 18, 2008  Permanent link
    Sounds like you just want a cordoned-off posting area that works exactly as the main section. It should be good.

    I'm not sure if ranking books by popularity would lead to a list free of cliches and obvious titles, though. The most widely read books would probably have a better chance of moving on up. Still, that's life, I suppose.
    Mission Control     Fri, Jan 18, 2008  Permanent link
    The redesigned Project spaces and Personal Collections that are currently underway will accommodate a lot of the ideas discussed. Besides additional ways of viewing content, we are also implementing a new Project Gallery - a (non-chronological) way for moderators to maintain an overview of the progress and accomplishments of a project, which could function as a library as well.

    As always we're listening to your ideas and will do anything possible to keep the Grand Discourse alive.
    meika     Fri, Jan 18, 2008  Permanent link
    fantastic
    Rourke     Fri, Jan 25, 2008  Permanent link
    It's great to see this post has made it onto the front page (in the 'popular posts' segment).

    Keep bumping it up!
    ParanoidMystic     Fri, Jan 25, 2008  Permanent link
    I completely agree with this concept. Already some of my favorite posts on Space Collective have been quotes that reveal what thinkers y'all are reading.

    As opposed to librarything, I prefer goodreads.com — the interface is slicker and the social aspects are solid. Check my profile.
    Rourke     Tue, Feb 19, 2008  Permanent link
    Since the Project spaces are being opened up soon, I thought I'd try and re-ignite this conversation. What books are you going to write reviews of first?
    Rourke     Wed, Mar 26, 2008  Permanent link
    UPDATE: The Total Library Project is now open!!
    meika     Wed, Aug 13, 2008  Permanent link
    Librarything.com announces (Free Web Services API to Common Knowledge) their LibraryThing Web Services API.
     
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